The Road to Self-Awareness

Why don’t we start with a paradox? Well here’s a good one; more and more people chase the allure of high IQs, at the expense of diminishing EQs (emotional intelligence).

Doesn’t it strike you as strange that in a world so modern, so developed, so complex, and so technologically advanced the highest rate of heart attacks occur on Monday mornings? Weird right? Or the fact that people need Xanax to cope with anxiety and “panic attacks”? I would love to travel back in time and ask our historical counterparts, Neanderthals, how they managed to cope living nakedly in a forest full of dangers and risks without having to depend on external life-alleviating mechanisms.

I get it though, times have changed – another excuse. One thing to me seems certain, the more choices we have the emptier we become. Neanderthals didn’t know what else to be other than animal-like creatures trying to surpass the daily hurdles of finding nourishment and protection. However, today presents a very different dynamic, one with constant influxes of information, chatter, noise, and change. Like a tiny fish helplessly swayed by the constant currents of overpowering tides. No time to think, no time to reflect, no time to self-audit, no time to develop…practically no time to live (the right way).

Maybe this example would be more relatable, one that would get you to see more clearly the perspective on which I build this article; when you come home from work, what’s the first thing you do? I personally, put down my bag change into comfortable cloths and immediately check my phone or open my laptop and watch a little bit of Netflix. Then, I might hit the gym and with no rest in between platforms shift my focus/attention to my iPod which blares music into my eardrums. After the gym, I lay idle on my bed with thoughts scurrying in my mind. Not able to bear the loneliness and vagueness of a reflective state of my mind (or what is commonly referred to as ‘boredom’) I then reach onto my night desk and grab a novel I am currently reading. Ah, the feeling of productivity, the feeling of accomplishment, any feeling that can distract my consciousness away from the silence that allows my mind to ponder – ponder thoughts that scare me.

I’m sure by now you’re thinking to yourself, I wish I never read this article. I don’t have time to think about my life this deeply. Please read on, I haven’t gotten to the good stuff yet.

Happiness, this is what this article is really about. How to be happy, like truly happy not when your friends ask and you lie or when you meticulously fabricate thought out Facebook pictures. I believe self-awareness is essential to finding true happiness.

Just as any respectable company relies on both an internal and external audit to ensure it complies with standards, processes, and regulations so should you; audit yourself constantly. How do I audit myself? Ask, retain, improve. Ask 5 people (a family member, a close friend, a friend, an acquaintance and a friend of a friend) to tell you what your great at, how they see you as a person, what your weaknesses are, etc. Take the information with a smile (regardless of how painful it could be at times) and reflect deeply. Now that you know what you’re good at, stop trying to be Donald Trump when you’re truly meant to be Adele. Point being, a life with meaning is one lived pursuing, unleashing, and utilizing the strengths embedded in your DNA, not ones society expects you to aimlessly chase. Living as YOU is the greatest gift life can offer, the trick is not getting lost in the maze, but using your senses to find the cheese.